Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.) alleged Monday that Democrat Bob Filner pinned her against an elevator door and tried to kiss her while he was a member of Congress from California.
DeGette recounted the story on MSNBC’s "Meet the Press Daily," saying that more women should name men who have sexually harassed or preyed on them. She described Filner’s actions while they were both in Congress and before he served as San Diego’s mayor, a position from which he resigned over separate sexual harassment allegations.
"Some years ago, I was in an elevator and then-Congressman Bob Filner tried to pin me to the door of the elevator and kiss me, and I pushed him away and, of course, some years later he left Congress," she said. "He became the mayor of San Diego, and then he had to leave that position for harassing younger women."
"I was his colleague. He couldn't take action against me and believe you me, I never got in an elevator with him again," DeGette added. "But what concerns me now, which should concern everybody is, what about the young staffers? What about the interns? Was this happening with them too?"
She said women should be less "reluctant to say who did it" when they make accusations, "particularly if those people are still in Congress or whatever the profession is."
She added that Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) apologized "very appropriately," even though he did not admit to most of the allegations against him. She then called for updating rules for how these matters are investigated since too much has been "swept under the rug."
Host Katy Tur responded to DeGette’s call for victims to name names in Congress, asking if the congresswoman knew any of those names herself. DeGette said she did not, but her experience makes her believe there are offenders in Congress.
"Given what happened to me, I'm not surprised to hear it," she said.
Filner served in Congress from 1993 to 2012 before running for mayor of San Diego, a position he was elected to in 2012. The summer following his election, he resigned following a series of other sexual harassment allegations.